Chile WRC: Tanak ends Friday stages in command

Toyota’s Ott Tanak has taken command of the WRC’s inaugural Rally Chile, extending his lead over Citroen’s Sebastien Ogier after dominating Friday afternoon’s two long stages.

Chile WRC: Tanak ends Friday stages in command

Tanak ended the opening day 22.4 seconds clear of Ogier, as well as 29.5s clear of points leader Thierry Neuville of Hyundai, extending his advantage from 6s at the start of the loop.

On the afternoon opening stage – the second El Puma run of the day – Tanak was 11.2s quicker than Ogier and 17.6s quicker than Neuville. Then on SS5 – the second Espigado run – Tanak extended his lead by a further 5.8s over Ogier and by 7.6s over Neuville.

Then on the evening’s short 1.4-mile street superspecial stage in Concepcion that closed the day, Tanak ceded a little time, 2.3s to Neuville and 0.7s to Ogier.

Neuville slipped to fourth place overall behind Tanak’s Toyota teammate Jari-Matti Latvala over the course of the afternoon, the pair ending the day in that order. Third-placed Latvala is 28.8s off Tanak and just 0.7s clear of Neuville.

It might have been even better for Latvala as he was on course to be quickest of all on SS5 but stalled at a junction near the end of the stage.

Neuville said he was disadvantaged on the long stages by ‘cleaning the surface’ as first on the road and continued to express annoyance with the notional time given for his red-flagged SS2 run during the morning.

Toyota’s Kris Meeke ended the day in fifth place overall, 46.5s off Tanak, while Hyundai’s Sebastien Loeb was next, leapfrogging M-Sport’s Elfyn Evans in the order by setting the second-best time on both of the afternoon loop’s long stages. Loeb then topped the superspecial too.

Nine-time champion Loeb ended the day 2.2s shy of Meeke and 12.7s ahead of Evans.

Andreas Mikkelsen is eighth for Hyundai, 2m08.1s off the pace, having hit a rock on the first stage of the day and he later admitted that he was not driving at 100 percent. He also admitted he nearly rolled on SS5, in a brief two-wheel moment.

M-Sport’s Teemu Suninen is ninth overall, while Citroen’s Esapekka Lappi continued in 10th place, and ended Friday 10.2s off Suninen overall as well as 2m18.3s off the lead.

Standings after SS6:

Cla Driver/Codriver Car Class Total Time Gap
1 Estonia Ott Tanak
Estonia Martin Jarveoja
Toyota Yaris WRC RC1 1:24'12.8
2 France Sébastien Ogier
France Julien Ingrassia
Citroën C3 WRC RC1 1:24'35.2 22.4
3 Finland Jari-Matti Latvala
Finland Miikka Anttila
Toyota Yaris WRC RC1 1:24'41.6 28.8
4 Belgium Thierry Neuville
Belgium Nicolas Gilsoul
Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC RC1 1:24'42.3 29.5
5 United Kingdom Kris Meeke
United Kingdom Sebastian Marshall
Toyota Yaris WRC RC1 1:24'59.3 46.5
6 France Sébastien Loeb
Monaco Daniel Elena
Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC RC1 1:25'01.5 48.7
7 United Kingdom Elfyn Evans
United Kingdom Scott Martin
Ford Fiesta WRC RC1 1:25'14.2 1'01.4
8 Norway Andreas Mikkelsen
Norway Anders Jaeger
Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC RC1 1:26'20.9 2'08.1
9 Finland Teemu Suninen
Finland Marko Salminen
Ford Fiesta WRC RC1 1:26'21.9 2'09.1
10 Finland Esapekka Lappi
Finland Janne Ferm
Citroën C3 WRC RC1 1:26'31.1 2'18.3
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